"Teaching poetry to kids of any age is a blast.
Simile? Think of your least favorite subject and your least favorite chore and combine them with “like.”
Personification? Give that chocolate-chip cookie a tone of voice as it calls you to eat it.
Metaphor? If your sister were a dog, what kind would she be?
During my 20 years of teaching high school English and Social Studies, however, I found the power of metaphor stretched far beyond poetry. When extended, a metaphor is more than a descriptive tool; it becomes a system for comprehending and articulating complex concepts.
Using Writing Strategies Is a Shared Responsibility
As I shared the reading and writing strategies discussed in Part 1 of this blog series, word spread about the success middle school students were having with them. Over time, I met with teachers from various subject areas and grade levels. They then used the strategies to help their students learn, remember, and apply content.
One team of intermediate-level teachers attended my workshops, learned the strategies, and used them with their third, fourth, and fifth grade students. They posted charts in their classrooms that listed the strategies that would be taught and used during the school year. After only a few months, these teachers changed the title of their charts from “Strategies You Will Learn” to “Strategies You Are Expected to Use.”
ncreasing Achievement Through Writing, Part 1
A Brave Young Teacher
Several years ago I shared writing strategies with a large group of middle school teachers and administrators – well over a hundred educators from all grades and subject areas. Everyone participated enthusiastically all morning as I demonstrated note taking, summarizing, responding to text, breaking down definitions, and asking or answering questions.
In Part 1 of this blog entry, we explored RtI/MTSS as an instructional system or philosophy of education and the importance of its sustainability. Once the decision is made to move forward, we begin to build a structure for implementation.
In 2001, the federal government finally required that educators be accountable for the achievement of all students through the requirements of No Child Left Behind. In 2004, the reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA, gave us the permission and structure to do so through Response to Intervention, or RtI (aka, Multi-Tier System of Supports, or MTSS).
RtI is defined as “… the practice of (1) providing high-quality instruction/intervention matched to student need and (2) using learning rate over time and level of performance to (3) make important educational decisions” (Batsche et al., 2005). One might argue that this is what we have always done in education, but unfortunately, many students only received assistance if they qualified for special education services. Others got what little assistance teachers could provide in between the myriad of “educational priorities” that changed with each election.